Labor Day has passed causing most of us to look back wondering,
“Where has the summer gone?”

Summer is a time of baseball, swimming, vacations and leisure.
Summer is a time to celebrate the “little kid” in all of us, albeit at the ice cream stand, the “put-put” place or the county fair.
Summer doesn’t require you to break the bank to put a smile on your child’s face.
But summer does require an intentional heart to fill up those scrapbooks with memories.

As an older adult I’m more aware of my summers lived and want to be more present and make the hot summer days count with my grandchildren, as time with them is getting away from us as we grandparents are a witness to how fast these precious babies are growing up.

Summer has been good to us this year.
While we have no fancy vacation pictures to share with you, we did take a
“Summer Ride to Fall”,
adding another volume of intentional memories to add to our scrapbook collection.

Some of our best summer memories with our grandchildren are spent at the baseball field taking our seat on the bleachers as they play.
Maybe it’s the smell of popcorn and hot dogs or the taste for victory that makes sweating on a sweltering day of nine innings bearable.
Maybe watching our grandchildren cheer their cousin on while having a bad day at the plate is worth the slew of pictures taken.
Maybe your little slugger in uniform just puts a smile on your face that keeps you coming back for more at the field each year.

Baseball this summer had our grandson cheering on his grown up slugger at his games.  I loved that Ethan wanted to be there.

Baseball this summer didn’t disappoint.
The only disappointment was not being able to cheer our DC soccer players on during their summer meets.  But pictures have a tendency to fill a few voids.

After a hot day of baseball, nothing cools off a family of cousins than a splash in Uncle Bradly’s pool.  It doesn’t hurt that Uncle Bradly lives next door and has given us a free pass to swim all summer long.  All he asks is for everyone to exercise safety and have a pool full of fun.

Every now and then the kids have to be satisfied with Papa and Gaga’s mini version of water fun.  Bribe them with a few freeze pops and set up the tent for an overnight sleepover though and they go to bed with a smile.

Though our DC kids didn’t swim in Uncle Bradly’s pool this year, they were able to get away for some much needed time as a family.

Summer is also a time when the grill stays lit from one BBQ celebration after the other.

When gathering around the table it means so much to decorate the place settings.  Little effort is required and the memories in the details speak for themselves.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day came, the tables were set and we celebrated.  Our children who call us mom or dad honored the years of love and sacrifice spent on them.  Not going unnoticed was the heart behind each simple card and gift.

Summer is one birthday party after the other and we can’t get enough of them and cake.

We had three milestone birthdays this year.

Our oldest granddaughter became a teenager and our two youngest granddaughters blew out their first birthday candles and had their cake all to themselves.

We had birthday themes of all kinds:  American Girl party, swim party, Star Wars party, Mickey Mouse party and a Unicorn party.

We celebrated my mother’s birthday, my birthday, and even thanked God for life as we celebrated Uncle Bradly’s birthday while taking his chemo treatment.

As I said, this summer the grills were always lit for a party.

July 4th was no different.  Papa’s BBQ is like none other and he looks a bit dapper sporting his new grilling duds and utensils he received from his DC kids for his birthday in February. fourth of july david cooking
This July 4th holiday had my daughter dressing her girls in red-white-and-blue which delights a grandmother.  Facebook memories also tug my heart seeing the red-white-and-blue of my babies from July 4th’s in years past.

As a military mom I’ve become more appreciative of our country and the great sacrifices of our servicemen and their families during our July 4th time together.  July 4th brings out the sparklers, the fireworks and an evening when skies are lit up to celebrate our freedom.

Summer spurs on those bike rides around town to greet the cows or take your grandchildren to the Dollar General where they spend $2 each for candy and chips.  I always feel sorry for the cashier with our bustle of six children invading their domain each Friday, with five kids under eight, one being a baby.   The cashier never looks annoyed to bag each child’s treats individually.  But hey, a grandparent has to make those memories count.

Summer is a great time for trying new adventures.
That skydive you’ve been begging to take since your high school graduation.
Or that painting class you finally took with your sisters, daughters and nieces.

Summer is a reminder to keep your love alive by taking a train ride to the city for an extravagant lunch on your kids.

Summer is a spontaneous trip to your honeymoon town for the day; a place that never gets old and deepens your time together surrounded by memories of where your marriage first began.
south haven 2
What would summer be without canning homemade strawberry / rhubarb jelly for those future hot winter biscuits?

Summer is also a time to say good-by to your grandson who leaves for a month’s visit to his dads.  Of course we are happy for him to see his family, especially his little brother, but his voice and presence is noted and terribly missed at cousin camp when he’s gone.

Then there is that unexpected summer good-by to your Pastor of 28 years or your pseudo-mother from your childhood past that catches you off guard and unprepared emotionally.

Summer sometimes resurfaces that sad good-by to the ones you’ve shared summer weekends together at their river front cottage.  What I wouldn’t give for a quiet cup of coffee with my nanny seated next to her by the water’s edge.

swimming bill and gloria

Summer this year was bittersweet as the “growing up” of our grandchildren is as glaring as the morning sun.

Our youngest two granddaughters Kizzey Mae and Aubrey Ann are walking now.

Our three year old granddaughters Rosalee and Ayva have ditched their high chairs and now sit in big girl chairs at a big girl table and do big girl things.

Our seven year old granddaughter Cova is allowed to video chat with me and her other aunts, uncles and grandparents on her private account.

video chat cova ears

We still have Friday night cousin camp but our grandchildren are big enough now to want a cup of coffee with papa in the morning.

We look at these ten gifts from God and wonder, “How did they grow up so fast?”

Summer in the park takes me back to the wonderful season 25 years ago when my children were small.  A wall of their hand-prints taken then along with hand-prints of many children in the community memorializing their childhood still stands after all these years.

Labor Day has finally come marking the end of our “Summer Ride to Fall”.

Hollis in truck

I am so thankful to the generous aunt and uncle our DC kids have that share their river front cottage with them over many holiday weekends; this Labor Day included, so our children have family to make memories together with.

I am thankful for the reminder while watching my granddaughter Ayva make music with her papa, we all have a song to sing and somebody is waiting for us to lift up our voice.

labor day drums

I am thankful for the reminder when looking at our great niece this holiday weekend that God’s biggest miracles come in the smallest of packages.

labor day celeste

I am thankful for the conversation I had with our seven year old grandson Ethan as we closed out the summer on the way home from our Labor Day celebration.  For no reason, Ethan inquisitively asked when we were buying our dream home log cabin.  Interesting as David and I rarely talk about this dream out loud much these days, so for a seven year old to ask a grown up question caught my attention and heart off guard, especially when he offered those millions stashed in his piggy bank for us to borrow.

labor day log cabin

I am thankful for our kids that call and face-time through the week who want to hear about our day.

I am thankful for grand-kids that recognize our voice over the speaker phone and engage in conversation.

I am thankful for the kids who sit next to us in church as we worship together the one who is responsible for and the author of everything amazing in our lives.

church with kids

Fall is here and so another season begins.
God is always on the move.

Let’s continue to live our life with intent.
Memories don’t get made by accident.
Memories are made on purpose.

Yes people, Fall is here and so another season begins.

Fall brings out the kid in me as my favorite season is around the corner and
I am celebrating already!

end of summer xmas

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Author Lori A Alicea and her beloved husband David of 28 years thank you for sharing a moment of your day with them at Apples of Gold Encouragement. It is their desire you experience their heart for family, love, encouragement and God through the words God has put on Lori’s heart to write. They are hopeful you discover a few treasures of encouragement, realizing we all share common threads in our lives. Be blessed in your day.

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